About Vigneti Massa Fuso Barbera
Vigneti Massa Fuso Barbera is 100% Barbera. The finishes fermentation in cavernous cement tanks. Tanks stored under the winemaker Walter Massa’s house. Colli Tortonesi’s soil is clay and limestone. It gives Vigneti Massa Fuso Barbera a touch more depth than you usually see in a daily drinker. The wine has just a touch of funk and lifted fruit / volatile acidity.
Like all reds in the FUSO project, it is good with a slight chill. It’s our kind of daily drinker. It is affordable, natural, and minimally filtered. An everyday-delicious wine from an interesting growing area (Colli Tortonesi). Vigneti Massa Fuso Barbera is a real wine for great pizza or spaghetti. Plus, it’s a wine quality-price-ratio hero!
FUSO is a long-term project for importer PortoVino. The goal of the project is to bring in authentic, local wines from each of the 20 regions of Italy. The project focuses on wines from real growers rather than from tank farms. Farmers and producer friends committed to organic viticulture, and low-intervention, and terroir-driven wines. As a result they got some cool stuff. The first of which is the Fuso Barbera from Walter Massa in the Colli Tortonesi in Piemonte.
- Delicious and terroir-driven
- Made by farmers (not tank-farms)
- Certified organic or practicing organic wineries in conversion
- Native grapes
- Native yeasts
- Low sulphur (45 mg/l or less of added SO2)
- Unfiltered or slightly filtered
- Dry farmed
Walter Massa for the Fuso Project
PortoVino founder Ernest asked Walter Massa (2011 Gambero Rosso Wine Grower of the Year) for a favor. He asked him to produce a high-quality, low price Barbera specifically for PortoVino. Walter Massa is most famous as the prophet of Timorasso in Colli Tortonesi. Yet, the area has a long tradition for delicious Barbera. Including Walter’s delicious Barbera ‘Monleale. Fuso Barbera isn’t a private label with wine from just anywhere. It is all estate fruit. The wine sees slow, traditional fermentation and aged in concrete tanks.
It’s hard not to get worked up about Walter Massa’s wines. He had a vision for a grape variety nobody wanted. Working in obscurity for years he rescued the grape. Massa does talk about himself but about the territory of Colli Tortonesi. Everyone in the area knows Massa, from the gas station guy to the producer next door.
Even Jancis Robinson, who usually saves her love for the French, loves him.
“I absolutely loved this white wine [2006 Massa Timorasso ‘Derthona’] and found more aromas and flavours, and more pleasure, as I drank it over the course of a few days…. Very inviting spiced honeyed nose and some creamy, lightly spiced aromas…. Nutty, citrus, with just discernible floral and apricot notes. Full of flavour and yet restraint, cool and fresh and lingeringly elegant and aromatic…. As the week went by, I found even more flavours emerging – white flowers, ginger, mineral, and still nutty. I also noted a firmness in the texture but it was still alluringly creamy. Long, powerful, and sophisticated with a gently floral finish.”
Imagine Colli Tortonesi Region Through Massa’s Eyes
Colli Tortonesi’s soils are clay, chalk, stone, sand. The region perches at 200-300 meters. Situated very near the almost abandoned hilltop town of Monleale Alto. Walter is quite the host, and this sleepy place comes alive as he talks about it. He will walk down and then back up the steep vineyards and into the cantina. Then have lunch with his mom and his family, uncork say 12 bottles from various years. He will make nice with journalists with kids running all around. Massa smiles and thanks to the vineyard workers as they eat their lunch. Then he will pause and praise the two women who took care of the new vine planting. A visit with Massa is a whirlwind of nonchalance and serious wine.
The whirlwind continues as Massa returns from the cellar. His arms full of wine; a ‘99 Croatina, ‘02 Barbera Monleale, and a Timorasso whose age you have to guess. You can only say “No!” in disbelief and then nod Yes! in awe of being in one of Italy’s great lands, and in the presence of a man in touch with that land. He is half circus conductor and half prophet.
Walter farms 30 hectares in eight distinct vineyard areas. Total production at Massa is about 13,000 cases, 5,000 of which is Timorasso. He produces amazing reds as well from local Croatina, Barbera, Freisa, and Nebbiolo.